A powerful Russian crime syndicate that’s accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars around the world appears to have also flowed millions through nearly 30 Canadian bank accounts.
A CBC News investigation has spent months tracking down some of the individuals and companies attached to those accounts and found the $2 million sent to Canada was spread among recipients ranging from a boxing manager in Montreal to a construction company in Calgary.
Many of them expressed surprise that documents provided to CBC suggest the money originated from a money-laundering scheme.
A handful of companies registered here also sent $17.6 million out of Canada to foreign accounts associated with the crime syndicate, according to the documents that chronicle hundreds of wire transfers in and out of Canada between 2008 and 2013.
The fact that money from a sophisticated tax fraud in Russia may have ended up in Canada, and so much documentation exists to support it, is “groundbreaking,” says Lincoln Caylor, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in complex fraud cases and has examined the documents.
“Not a lot of people would have thought that Canada is such a safe haven for ill-gotten gains.”